Saturday, December 21, 2013

First Time in the US

Is this your first time to the US? Many things would have pulled your attention.

Length/Distance: feet/miles vs m/km

Weight: lb vs kg

Driving on the right side of the road is the right way

Power switch on is off and vice versa

Rubber vs eraser - When you write something wrong and you want to erase it, you use an eraser

Bill vs check - After dining at a restaurant you ask for check. Currency note is a bill. One dollar bill.

Apple doesn't sell PCs in the US. They instead sell Personal Computers!! PC means Windows Personal Computer

In movies, saving America is synonymous to saving the world

You better start liking football (Not soccer). Its American Football a lighter version of Rugby. Its called football because, its played with a foot length ball.

If you pay your credit card bill in full, some might think you are crazy because they think, why pay in full, when it says "minimum payment due" is far less. Don't be belittled. Just do what you think is right.

If you are on a visa, your legal duration of stay is determined by i-94 (used to be stapled on your passport, now it is made online) provided at the port of entry to US. The date mentioned on the i-94 takes priority over all the other documents you have (visa stamped on the passport, i797, offer letter, ead card etc).

The electronic power plug may not be the same as the one you used in your country. You might need power adaptor.

If you plan to get a mobile, don't be surprised if you get charged when you receive an SMS/Text. Outgoing and incoming calls are treated equally (called talk time).

If you go to a movie theater, the seats are available on first come first serve basis. Very few theaters in the US allow seat reservation. Seat reservation is an advanced feature as per US standards.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Loyal3 commission free stock trading

Loyal3 (

A social stock trading platform with no brokerage fees or commission. It is easy to use and understand. It explains things in a way which is understandable for novice. It has a very user friendly website ( Its first IPO was AMC which started trading on Dec 18, 2013. As of 1/27/2014, 55 company stocks can be traded via Loyal3.

Loyal3 in the News:

01/09/2014 - Loyal3 announces it's 2nd IPO - Santander Consumer USA in NYSE under symbol SC (Range: $100 - $10,000)
12/17/2013 - Loyal3 announces it's 1st IPO - AMC lets its movie fans buy into its IPO in NYSE under symbol AMC (Range: $350 - $2500)
05/13/2013 - Loyal3 recieves 18 million dollars in Series C financing


  • Commission free trading
  • Invest as low as $10
  • Very easy to understand user interface
  • Partial stock ownership. Ability to own high priced stocks
  • Has the ability for monthly fixed investment
  • Can use credit card for payment at no extra cost (one time, monthly or IPO). Takes 2-3 days for the trade. For one time and monthly investments, credit card can be used only for $10, $25 or $50 investments.
  • Invest in IPO ($350 to $10000). The minimum and maximum limits varies with IPO. Not all IPOs will be available, only those supported by Loyal3.
  • Dividends are credited to your account
  • Online chat customer service
  • Cash balance is SIPC insured (

  • Cons

    • Can choose from only a limited set of stocks
    • The buy/sell price is not predictable because trading is not immediate. It is pooled and can be run at any time
    • No Limit order or any other advanced order possible. Only able to sell at the market price at the time of batch trade
    • Once you place a one time buy/sell order, it cannot be cancelled. Now you can cancel orders. Monthly plans can be cancelled by going to the "My Monthly Plans" page
    • Limitation of $2500 per stock per month (30 day period)
    • 2 day delay for credit card and 3 day delay for debit or checking account transactions. So if you use credit/debit/checking to buy a stock, you will have to take the risk of volatility of the 2-3 days delay. The transactions happen on same day if done using funds in Loyal3.
    • No IRA
    • No mobile app yet. They should have one soon
    • If you make multiple transactions (monthly/one time) on the same date using credit card, make sure your credit card company doesn't treat it as fraudulent activity. Hope they will combine all the purchases into a single credit card transaction.
    Features available
    • Total amount invested for each company stock
    • Transaction history showing both trades and funds transfer
    • Transaction history showing only trades with Amount and number of stocks bought/sold
    • Transaction history showing funds transfer
    Good to have
    • Profit or Loss for each company stock (Realized and Unrealized profit/loss)
    • Transactions history showing Debit and Credit in two different columns
    • A page which shows the price (approx) of all the stocks. Currently, need to click on each stock to see the last close price
    • Ability to edit/cancel one time transactions (buy / sell) at least until few minutes or hours before the batch trade.
    • List view for the My Account page
    Other Trading Platforms

    PlatformStandard PricingMore Info
    eTrade 9.99
    Pricing information may not be accurate. Please refer to the company website to get more accurate information.


    1. Can I have more than one monthly investment of the same company (eg: Monthly buy order of stock XYZ on different dates)?

    2. Can I make one time purchase while I have monthly investement on the same company?
    Yes, as long as your net investment on the company does not exceed $2500 over 30 day period

    3. After purchasing stocks using Credit Card, if I sell the stocks, where does the money go to?
    The proceedings from the sale of the stock will be in your Loyal3 account and it can be transferred to your bank account. Note: The money cannot be credited back into your Credit Card account.

    Open Questions:

    1. How long will Loyal3 be able to sustain with commission free trades?

    2. In My Account page, when I add up the individual market values (after market close), it is approximately $5 less than the Total Account Value mentioned on the top of the page. How is this possible?
    Ans: This happened when I had pending transactions. As soon as all the transactions were settled, the total was correct.

    Remember, Loyal3 is a real stock trading platform like any other brokerage company where you deal with real money. So the value of your portfolio could increase or decrease. Thanks for reading my review of loyal3. I have used it since Dec 2013 and I love it. Feel free to leave your comments or ask questions which you might want to know about Loyal3.

    List of Companies supported by Loyal3:
    1. 21st Century Fox
    2. AMC Theatres (IPO)
    3. Abercrombie & Fitch
    4. Aeropostale
    6. American Eagle Outfitters
    7. Anheuser-Busch InBev
    8. Apple
    9. Berkshire Hathaway
    10. Best Buy
    11. Blizzard
    12. Buffalo Wild Wings
    13. Burger King
    14. Coca-Cola
    15. Discovery Communications
    16. Disney
    17. Dr Pepper Snapple
    18. Dunkin
    19. Electronic Arts
    20. Endurance
    21. Facebook
    22. Fifth & Pacific
    23. Frontier Communications
    24. Gap
    25. Google
    26. Hasbro
    27. Hershey
    28. Intel
    29. Kellogg's
    30. Kohl's
    31. L Brands
    32. Macy's
    33. Mattel
    34. McDonald's
    35. Microsoft
    36. Mondelez
    37. Monster
    38. Nike
    39. Nokia
    40. PVH
    41. Pepsi
    42. Quiksilver
    43. Ralph Lauren
    44. Santander Consumer USA (IPO)
    45. Starbucks
    46. Target
    47. Time Warner
    48. Twitter
    49. Unilever
    50. VF Corp
    51. Viacom
    52. Wal-Mart
    53. World Wrestling Entertainment
    54. YUM
    55. Yahoo

    Happy investing for your future.

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    All in one credit card onlycoin

    Single card for all your cards - OnlyCoin

    Order you coin here for $50 before the price increases to $100.

    Q. What is a Coin?
    A. Coin is a connected device that can hold and behave like the cards you already carry. Coin works with your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards. Instead of carrying several cards you carry one Coin. Multiple accounts and information all in one place. Get one here.
    Q. How do I get my cards onto a Coin?
    A. The mobile app will allow you to add, manage and sync the cards that you choose to store on your Coin. The process of adding card information to the mobile app is very simple and is done by taking a picture or two and swiping your Coin through a small device we provide you with.
    Q. How much does a Coin cost?
    A. Each Coin costs $100. For you early adopters there is a very limited quantity that can be purchased for $50. You can pre-order here.
    Q. How do I get my Coin?
    A. You can pre-order a Coin via the website.
    Q. Where can I use Coin?
    A. You can use a Coin everywhere cards are accepted including dip-style card readers and ATMs. Use a Coin just like you use your cards now at gas stations, restaurants, the mall, the gym, or other places you frequent.
    Q. Will my Coin work outside the U.S.?
    A. Not in all cases.

    U.S.-based customers: Coin will work overseas, but we recommend that you bring a backup card when you travel.

    Customers located outside of the U.S.: Coin does not support EMV yet. If the country you live it requires it we recommend holding off your purchase for now.
    Q. Why are you charging me immediately for my pre-order?
    A. Creating and manufacturing new devices is expensive. As a young company, being able to use the revenue from your pre-order to pay for things as we build them helps us reduce risk and helps ensure that we deliver the best possible product and customer service to you.
    Q. Why aren’t you collecting my shipping information when I order?
    A. A lot can happen between now and Summer 2014. For example, you could move. To reduce confusion, we’ll get those details from you once we get a little closer to getting you your Coin.
    Q. Does the price include sales tax?
    A. The price includes sales tax for U.S. customers only.
    Q. Does the price include VAT or other duties?
    A. No. You are responsible for all other taxes or duties.
    Q. Which is better; Tiger or Monkey style Kung Fu?
    A. Depends on the terrain.
    Q. How do I get help or support?
    A. Please email us at
    Q. Will Coin affect my card’s loyalty or rewards program?
    A. No, you will accumulate points or rewards exactly the same way as with your plastic card.

    Q. Is a Coin really the same size as a typical credit card?
    A. Yes, really. The dimensions of a Coin are roughly 80.5 mm x 54 mm x 0.84 mm or 3.125" x 2.125" x 0.033".
    Q. Do Coins only come in Snow or Midnight?
    A. Yes, but later down the road we will probably offer more colors.

    Q. How many cards can a Coin hold?
    A. The Coin mobile app can store an unlimited number of cards, however, a Coin can hold up to 8 cards at a time.
    Q. What kinds of cards can I store in my Coin?
    A. Debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards.
    Q. What mobile platforms will Coin support?
    A. Coin mobile apps will be available for iOS and Android.
    Q. Can I use my Coin for online payments?
    A. Coin is designed to allow you to use your cards out in the world. When you are making a purchase online, the Coin mobile app can be used to reference your card details. The Coin itself, however, cannot be used directly for online payments.
    Q. Can a Coin store my driver’s license or other forms of identification?
    A. Bottom line is that you should not rely on your Coin as a form of ID the next time you’re in line at the airport or at the club. A Coin can store an ID with a magnetic stripe, however, this will likely not suffice for you to use it out in the world. Many forms of identification have additional security features to ensure they are not fakes.
    Q. Can someone accidentally change which card is selected on my Coin?
    A. We’ve designed the button to toggle cards in a way that makes it difficult to trigger a "press" unintentionally. Dropping a Coin, holding a Coin, sitting on a Coin, or putting the Coin in a check presenter at a restaurant will not inadvertently toggle the card that is selected.
    Q. Do I need my phone with me to use Coin? How close does my Coin need to be to my phone to use it?
    A. No. Coin is a standalone device. There are, however, security features like notifying you that you forgot your Coin somewhere which you need to have your phone on you to take advantage of.

    Q. How secure is Coin?
    A. Maintaining the integrity of your Coin’s data is critical to your peace of mind. That’s why the servers, mobile apps and the Coin itself use 128-bit or 256-bit encryption for all storage and communication (http and bluetooth). Additionally Coin can alert you in the event that you leave it somewhere.
    Q. What if I lose my Coin or someone steals it?
    A. In the event that your Coin loses contact with your phone for a period of time that you configure in the Coin mobile app, it will automatically deactivate itself.
    Q. Is Coin password protected?
    A. Your Coin account is password protected and the mobile app requires that you type in your password before you can access sensitive card details.
    Q. Can I lock my Coin?
    A. Currently you cannot lock your Coin, but you don’t have to. Coin will automatically deactivate if it loses contact with your phone for a period of time that you configure in the Coin mobile app.
    Q. Does Coin support chip and pin (EMV)?
    A. Coin is currently designed for the U.S. market and does not support chip and pin (EMV), however, future generations of the device will include EMV.
    Q. What if my phone runs out of power or is in airplane mode? Will my Coin be useable?
    A. Yes, but you may need to unlock it if the Coin becomes deactivated due to being out of contact with your phone for too long.
    Q. What if I lose my phone?
    A. When you pair your Coin with your phone, it is associated with your account and not that specific phone/device. If you lose your phone, it is possible to pair your Coin with your new phone after installing the Coin mobile app and signing in.
    Q. Does Coin satisfy PCI DSS standards for storing and transmitting card data?
    A. Coin is in the process of earning a PCI DSS certification.
    Q. Does Coin have a PCI PA-DSS validation?
    A. The PCI Security Standards Council PA-DSS program addresses payment applications used to accept and process payment for goods and services. A device such as a Coin is seen as similar to a payment card in a consumer’s wallet and the standard does not apply.
    Q. What steps does the Coin app take to prevent cards from being added fraudulently?
    A. The Coin app requires that you take a picture of the front and back of the card, type in card details, and then swipe the card (using a reader we provide) to ensure the card’s encoded magnetic stripe data matches the card details provided. It is not possible to complete these steps unless you are in physical possession of a card. As an additional safeguard, the Coin app will only allow you to add cards you own.
    Q. Can a Coin be used to skim cards?
    A. No. You can only add cards that you own to your Coin.
    Q. Can card data be skimmed from a Coin?
    A. A Coin is less susceptible to some card skimming techniques that take a picture of the card as it is swiped since Coin does not display the full card details on the front or back of the device. A Coin is no less susceptible than your current cards to other forms of skimming that capture data encoded in the magnetic stripe as the card is swiped.

    Q. How long does a Coin last? Do I recharge it? What happens when my Coin’s battery dies?
    A. Coins are designed to last for 2 years under normal usage and do not need to be recharged. Once the battery dies you will need to replace your Coin.
    Q. How do you figure that a Coin will last 2 years? What constitutes normal usage?
    A. Here’s how we modeled typical usage. On a daily basis, we assume you’ll toggle which card you want to use and swipe your Coin 10-20 times a day. In addition, you may adjust which cards you want to store on your Coin a few times a week. Initially when you’re getting to know your Coin you will likely be syncing often. Over time we find that most people sync much less frequently once his or her cards are on a Coin. If you swipe and sync more frequently on a consistent basis, your Coin’s battery will drain more quickly.
    Q. Won’t the Bluetooth connection between my Coin and my phone drain the Coin’s battery?
    A. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is designed to consume very little power and in addition to that we’ve carefully optimized communication between the Coin and Coin mobile app. Under normal usage, a Coin’s battery should last 2 years.
    Q. Is Coin waterproof?
    A. Coins are water resistant but not waterproof. If you spill your coffee or juice box on your Coin it's probably no big deal. If you put it through the washer or take it swimming your Coin will likely cease to function as designed.
    Q. My souffl├ęs keep collapsing! What can I do?
    A. In order for the meringue to peak properly we suggest adding a little lemon juice to the b├ęchamel. This strengthens the mixture and prevents tragedy.
    Q. Can magnets break my Coin?
    A. Normal magnetic exposure (wallets with money clips that use magnets) won’t harm your Coin. If your job or hobby puts you in close proximity to above average strength electro-magnets this will most likely render your Coin inoperable.
    Q. What happens if I sit on my Coin?
    A. Coins are built with some durability and flexibility so don’t worry too much. Your Coin however is an electronic device so if it is folded or bent at extreme angles it will most likely break.

    Q. How do referrals work?
    A. When you pre-order your Coin we conjure up a unique referral code URL using a mystical form of alchemy. If someone clicks the referral code link and pre-orders a Coin within 90 days, you get $5 credit. Magic loves to be shared.
    Q. What are the rules?
    A. We want this to work in your favor but there are a few rules. This isn’t Thunder Dome.

    First, we’ve got to be able to charge the person you refer. If there are any hiccups in processing the pre-order payment for a referral we cannot bestow the $5 credit upon you.

    Second, regardless of the quantity of Coins your friend orders you will still only receive a single $5 dollar credit.

    Third, we will honor your referral credits up to 90 days after you pre-order your Coin.

    Finally, you can earn up to $50 in referral credit. For you early adopters this means that if you get 10 of your peeps to pre-order a Coin, your Coin is on us.
    Q. How will I know when I’ve earned referral credits?
    A. Each time you earn a $5 referral credit, we will send you an email.
    Q. How will I receive my referral credit?
    A. We will issue a $5 refund to the account you used to purchase your Coin. If we hit any snags issuing the refund we’ll contact you via email and get it straightened out. We take the referral process seriously and want to reward you for spreading the word about Coin.
    Q. Can I use my own referral code?
    A. Clever, but no.
    Q. Will the referrer be notified when I use his code?
    A. When a referral is successfully processed the referrer is notified that…someone…has used his/her referral link. However, the identity of The Masked Referrer is forever a mystery! Unless, of course, you tell them it was you.

    Pre-Order you card HERE.